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Friday, May 7, 2021

Capitol Update by Rep. Martin Causer (R) Turtlepoint

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Capitol Update
Friday, May 7, 2021 The latest news from the State Capitol
 Please do not reply directly to this email, as it returns to an unmanned account.
You are welcome to contact me through this link.
 
 
COVID-19 Contact Tracing Data Breach Must Be Investigated

In the wake of revelations of a data breach impacting more than 70,000 Pennsylvanians who were contact traced for COVID-19, we are calling for an immediate, independent investigation into how this happened and why it was not addressed sooner by the Wolf administration.

A WPXI-TV/Target 11 investigation that aired last Thursday revealed Pennsylvanians’ personal information was unsecured and accessible on the internet after they answered calls from employees of Insight Global, which was awarded a no-bid contract by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) to conduct contact tracing.

DOH officials have said they will not renew Insight Global’s contract, which has netted the company nearly $29 million, when it expires in July. I believe it should be terminated immediately.

Given the series of missteps by the governor and his cabinet over the last year, an independent investigation by someone outside of the administration – such as the attorney general, House Government Oversight Committee or even federal law enforcement – is necessary to restore the public trust.
 
 
Governor’s COVID-19 Mitigation Orders – Except Masking – to be Lifted May 31

COVID-19 mitigation orders still impacting businesses and organizations across the Commonwealth will be lifted as of 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 31, the Wolf administration announced earlier this week.

Masking orders will remain in place until the Commonwealth achieves a vaccination rate of at least 70% of the population age 18 and older.

The governor’s disaster emergency declaration also remains in place. It was last renewed Feb. 19 for 90 days. It began on March 6, 2020.

 
 
Cast Your Vote on Emergency Declaration Ballot Questions

By the time the governor’s COVID-19 mitigation orders are officially lifted at the end of this month, they will have been in place for more than a year. That’s more than a year of limited operations for businesses, leading to the permanent loss of more than half a million jobs. That’s more than a year of limited ability to visit loved ones in long-term care facilities. That’s more than a year of our children’s education being disrupted, despite the best efforts of school districts and teachers.

No matter how you feel about the restrictions, it’s important to point out that they were implemented entirely by Gov. Tom Wolf. The General Assembly had no say in the matter, and therefore, neither did you – the citizens we represent.

On Tuesday, May 18, you’ll finally have your say through two ballot questions that propose amendments to the state Constitution to change the way we handle disaster emergency declarations in the future.

I voted to put these questions on the ballot because I believe they would restore the foundational system of checks and balances that has been missing over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most important, I voted to put them on the ballot because you deserve to be heard.

 
 
Continuing the Fight for Oil and Gas Jobs

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee this week approved my legislation to ensure reasonable, responsible oversight of the conventional oil and gas industry that will both protect the environment and ensure the 160-year-old industry can grow and thrive in the Commonwealth.

House Bill 1144 would establish the Conventional Oil and Gas Wells Act to serve as a framework for establishing regulations specific to shallow-well drilling, which is vastly different from unconventional operations in the Marcellus shale. A similar bill passed the General Assembly last session but was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf.

I will continue to fight for these small business owners and their employees who live, work and raise their children in the same communities where they are drilling for oil and gas. They have shown time and again they are capable of and committed to producing this valuable energy source while also ensuring clean air and water for themselves and future generations.

The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.
 
 
Policy Committee Hears About Proposed Changes to State System of Higher Education


As chairman of the House Majority Policy Committee, I hosted a roundtable discussion this week with Chancellor Dan Greenstein of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).

PASSHE is embarking on a plan to restructure six of its universities into two as a means to restore financial stability to the system and still serve the needs of students. The plans include integrating California, Clarion and Edinboro universities into one university, and Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield into another. More information about the proposal is available at www.PASSHE.edu.
 
 
Reform Vital to Saving Jobs, Restoring PA Economy

Continuing our work to restore the state’s economy post-pandemic and ensure the availability of quality job opportunities, the House approved several government reform measures this week. The action comes on the heels of U.S. Steel’s announcement it was withdrawing plans for a $1.5 billion investment in western Pennsylvania due, in part, to permitting delays. We need to ensure the Commonwealth doesn’t lose out like this again in the future.

With the goal of making the Commonwealth a partner in ensuring compliance rather than a heavy-handed enforcer, House Bill 288 would require each state agency to designate an employee as its regulatory compliance officer. The officer would be accessible to businesses and organizations subject to regulations, working to explain requirements and resolve noncompliance issues before imposing penalties.

House Bill 72 would establish an enhanced review process for major regulations that impose a substantial cost burden on the Commonwealth.

House Bill 139 would reform the permitting process by requiring agencies to post information about the permits that they grant on their website, create an accessible tracking system for applicants to check the status of their applications and clearly state the legal authority that the agency relies upon when rejecting a permit application.

House Bill 950 would strengthen the system of checks and balances by empowering the General Assembly to initiate the repeal of any regulation currently in effect by concurrent resolution.
 
 
 
Did You Know PA Has a Tick Testing Lab?

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month! Did you know not all ticks carry Lyme disease? That’s great news, but how do you know for sure??

East Stroudsburg University offers free tick testing to analyze the type of tick, whether it’s carrying Lyme or other tickborne diseases, and even an estimate of how long the tick has been attached.

It’s easy to take advantage of free testing. Simply remove the tick by carefully pulling it straight out with tweezers and then placing it in a bag; order the tick test online; and then mail the tick and your receipt to the lab for free testing. Once the university receives the tick, you’ll have your test results within three business days.
 
To learn more or to order a tick test, visit www.ticklab.org.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have a cult #45 Q-tipper looking to unseat you Marty ! Looks like I`m going to have to vote for you the very first time...